Maine CDC Press Release

October 29, 2009

Governor Renews Civil Emergency Order to Fight Flu, Facilitate School-Based Vaccinations

October 29, 2009 Governor's Office

AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today renewed a Proclamation of Civil Emergency Due to a Highly Infectious Agent. The original proclamation was signed on Sept. 1 and again on Sept. 30.

The proclamation enables the State to continue to better respond to the potential dangers of H1N1 flu and to facilitate a statewide vaccination campaign.

"Providers in our schools, clinics and other facilities are on the front lines of prevention the spread of H1N1," said Governor Baldacci. "Aggressive, responsible vaccination and public education are critical as we address the seasonal and H1N1 flu."

The proclamation protects school districts and other vaccination clinic participants from liability. The proclamation also provides immunity from tort liability for approved health care workers who administer the flu vaccines. The vaccines are voluntary.

The Maine Center for Disease Control, the Department of Education and the Maine Emergency Management Agency continue to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of school supported vaccine clinics for both the seasonal flu and H1N1.

On April 29, Governor Baldacci signed an executive order that activated the State’s H1N1 Response Committee, which includes the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control, MEMA, the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office.

The text of the proclamation follows:

Proclamation of Civil Emergency Due to a Highly Infectious Agent

Pursuant to the authority vested in the Office of the Governor of the State of Maine, and pursuant to the relevant provisions of 37-B M.R.S.A. ?? 703, 741, 742, 743 (2) 784-A and 822, I, John Elias Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine, renew my Proclamation of Civil Emergency dated September 30, 2009 as follows:

Background and Need On June 11, 2009 the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic of the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) virus and raised the pandemic alert level to Phase 6. Since the initial detection of the virus in March and April, 2009, it has rapidly spread throughout the United States and the world. The 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) virus is the predominant influenza virus in circulation worldwide and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted a significant increase in cases in the fall of 2009 and winter of 2010. The virus is responsible for nearly 5,000 deaths worldwide, including more than 1,000 deaths in the United States. On October 1, 2009, 2009 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, acting pursuant to her authority under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. ?247-d-6, renewed prior April 26, 2009 and July 24, 2009 Departmental determinations that a public health emergency exists nationwide involving 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) which affects or has significant potential to affect national security. Forty-six states, including Maine, are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time. Almost all of the influenza viruses presently circulating have been identified as 2009 H1N1 Influenza A viruses. On October 24, 2009 President Obama declared a national emergency with respect to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A pandemic. Manufacturing delays in the production of 2009 H1N1 Influenza A vaccine have delayed distribution and administration of the vaccine.

To prevent the incidence and severity of seasonal influenza and 2009 Influenza A (H1N1), the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established guidance for the vaccination of at risk populations, based upon the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. With respect to seasonal influenza, it is recommended that all children between the ages of 6 months and 19 years be vaccinated for seasonal influenza. With respect to 2009 Influenza A (H1N1), it is recommended that the entire U.S. population be vaccinated, with initial vaccination afforded to high risk groups defined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Funding for the seasonal influenza vaccination is provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Fund for a Healthy Maine. Funding for the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) vaccine is provided by the federal government.

Several state agencies are involved in the administration of statewide seasonal influenza and 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) vaccinations. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Maine Department of Education are organizing a statewide campaign to provide seasonal influenza and 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) vaccination to children and the general public in school based clinics and other public vaccination sites. As the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) vaccine has become available, the Maine Center for Disease Control is coordinating and facilitating the distribution and administration of the vaccine throughout the State of Maine in accordance with the guidance of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine production delays will necessitate an intensive effort to distribute and administer the vaccine in Maine once adequate supplies are available.

The availability of statewide vaccination clinics for seasonal influenza and 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) is threatened due to concerns about potential liability relating to the administration of the vaccines. These current conditions, including the imminent threat of influenza pandemic, constitute a threat to the safety and welfare of the people of the State of Maine and constitute a civil emergency or disaster within the meaning of the relevant emergency management statutes.

Mission and Scope To respond to the current public health emergency, I order and declare the following:

A. Civil emergency is imminent, caused by the public health emergency.

B. The Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Maine Department of Education shall coordinate with the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, Maine Emergency Management Agency to identify those health care workers duly licensed and authorized to administer influenza vaccines in the State of Maine who are able and available to participate in the planned vaccinations for seasonal influenza and 2009 Influenza A (H1N1).

C. The Maine Center for Disease Control, Department of Education and Maine Emergency Management Agency shall coordinate and facilitate the establishment, implementation, administration and operation of vaccination clinics in school-based settings and other publicly accessible sites in a manner consistent with the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

D. The relevant provisions of the Maine Pandemic Influenza Plan will be activated to facilitate the distribution and administration of seasonal influenza and 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) vaccines.

E. To the extent necessary to assure the timely provision of seasonal influenza and 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) vaccination in accordance with the guidance of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maine Center for Disease Control and the Department of Education, the Maine Emergency Management Agency will exercise its authority pursuant to 37-B M.R.S.A. ?784-A to designate appropriate health care workers licensed in this State and authorized to administer influenza vaccines to participate in vaccination clinics in accordance with the requirements of this Proclamation.

F. All persons designated by the Maine Emergency Management Agency to participate in vaccine administration pursuant to Paragraph E shall, pursuant to 37-B M.R.S.A. ?784-A, be deemed to be an employee of the State and entitled to immunity pursuant to 37-B M.R.S.A. ?822.

G. All State departments and agencies shall take whatever actions may be required and requested by the Maine Emergency Management Agency, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Department of Education to respond to this public health emergency. A record of such actions, if any, shall be compiled and presented to me by the heads of the affected departments and agencies on a reasonable and timely basis throughout the duration of this Emergency Proclamation.

H. The Maine Center for Disease Control, the Department of Education and the Maine Emergency Management Agency shall coordinate with the federal government to secure all appropriate influenza vaccines related to this public health emergency provided for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and other federal funds.

Duration Pursuant to 37-B M.R.S.A. ?743, this Emergency Proclamation shall expire thirty (30) days from the date of its signature, unless earlier rescinded by the Executive or upon joint resolution of the Legislature terminating the Emergency Proclamation, or unless extended by subsequent action of the Executive.

Given under my hand this 29th day of

October, 2009.

John E. Baldacci

Governor